Thousands of people descended to Cape Town this weekend for the Investec Cape Town Art Fair, the inaugural Stellenbosch Triennale and the State of the Nation Address (SONA).
The Mother City was teeming with art lovers, gallerists and collectors from all over the world, along with politicians in the city for one of the biggest events in South African politics.
In its 8th year, the Fair has become a celebrated showcase of some of the continent’s best creatives and this year it is co-curated by Curator at Michaelis Galleries, in Cape Town Nkule Mabaso and Artistic Director of MAN Contemporary Art Museum Luigi Fassi.
The fair, which consists of two exhibitions, titled TOMORROWS/TODAY and SOLO showcases under-represented artists and those considered to be ‘emerging’ artists.
Mabaso says, “Normally the focus of the section is around emerging artists. While that generally refers to young artists that are newly signed to galleries – we wanted to stretch that and look at it more as ‘emerging’ in the sense that they may not be well known in South Africa.”
The 2020 edition of the Fair boasts 107 exhibitors – 58 from Europe, USA, Middle East and Africa and 49 from South Africa.
It will be showcasing work by 423 artists who are making their mark on the world of contemporary art.
Fassi says, “We have crafted the section by interpreting the idea of African identity in a more complex way than just the biography of being born in Africa, or living in Africa, or being based here. So we have involved artists that share some clear connections to an African culture, even if you are not necessarily 100% African, or based there.”
Set in the town of Stellenbosch a place renowned for its natural beauty, history, culture and wine, the Stellenbosch Triennale – is an artistic meeting point layered with meaning, expression and healing through discourse.
The Triennale seeks to establish itself as an accessible art event focused on the development and democratization of art.
With the aim of taking public art to new heights in terms of international reach, scope, and variety of art being showcased – the Stellenbosch Triennale also aims to be a place for creativity and critical dialogue within society.
According to Chief Curator Khanyisile Mbongwa – the showcase titled; Tomorrow There Will Be More of Us – “will provide a meeting points for engagement with the divided past, the collective present and the imagined future.”
The Triennale will show works by over 40 African artists from a varied artistic backgrounds who have a single focus to create work the public can engage with, thus beginning to close the gap between the idea of art and art in society.
African Art World
With the establishment of privately funded art institutions such as the Zietz MOCAA, The Noval Foundation and Maitland Institution – the mother city is positioning itself as a force to be reckoned with in the art space.
After it was named UNESCO City of Design, the first city in Africa giving this title in 2018. Cape Town seems to have shifted gears, pressing forward to create spaces and platforms where the arts can thrive.
The city now seems to be creating solid foundations to keep with the UNESCO commitment to promote and develop innovation and creativity in the city.
A recent study titled: South African Art Market: Pricing & Patterns put Cape Town at the centre of the African art world, naming the Mother City the leading art capital.
According to the report Cape Town beat challengers like Johannesburg, Marrakesh and Lagos to claim the top spot.
The Investec Cape Town Art Fair runs from 14-16 February 2020 at the CTICC – while the Stellenbosch Triennale runs from 11 February – 30 April 2020.